The privatized presidential campaign corporation called Americans Elect has made repeated public claims that it has at least “400,000 delegates” (source | source | source). However, Americans Elect has refused to release a verifiable count of delegates, and there are good reasons to believe that its claim is not true (see here and here). It appears that Americans Elect has been, to put it mildly, speaking untruths about its delegate count. If the Americans Elect corporation cannot be trusted to report accurate counts, it should not be trusted with counting the votes in its own privatized presidential nomination.
If, on the other hand, Americans Elect is accurate and it really does have at least 400,000 delegates, then the events of the past day should be disquieting at the least.
In two places — Get Satisfaction and Facebook but, oddly enough, not on its own website — Americans Elect posted messages yesterday with comments threads attached in which people could say what they think Americans Elect ought to do now. The “now” in that statement is brought on by the fact that its three presidential primary ballot deadlines have passed and not a single candidate has garnered enough votes of support to qualify for any of those ballots. According to the official Americans Elect Rules, there are no more means for presidential contenders to get on the Americans Elect ballot. Americans Elect says it will, in one day’s time, take in all these messages, think about them, come to a decision and announce its decision some time today. That’s an awfully speedy rumination period, suggesting that it’s already been chewing the cud for a spell.
If Americans Elect follows its own rules, it’s done. But what it’s looking for is an affirmation by its delegates that it ought to continue on, change the rules after the completion of ballot-access voting, and preferentially let some candidates on the ballot despite their failure under official rules. What would an affirmation look like?
If Americans Elect is telling the truth, it has more than 400,000 delegates. As of this morning, 327 different people had shared their thoughts via Get Satisfaction and 325 different comments had been left on Facebook. But many people left multiple comments on Facebook. Some of the people leaving comments are presumably not delegates. Many comments had nothing to do with Americans Elect’s question (ex. “I think somebody from AE was on Colbert… albeit a while ago…” And many of the people who left comments were telling Americans Elect it needed to just shut down or try again in 2016.
The bottom line is that fewer than 500 people have told Americans Elect it should change its rules and keep going. If Americans Elect is telling the truth and it has more than 400,000 delegates, then at most 1/800th of its delegates have told Americans Elect to change its rules and continue.
According to the Americans Elect official corporate Bylaws, any change of rules by delegates takes a majority vote of all delegates. 1/800th of all delegates is not a majority. It’s about as far from a majority as you can get. By Americans Elect’s own standard, delegates have refused to endorse changing the rules.
On the other hand, maybe 500 delegates is a majority of all delegates. Maybe Americans Elect actually has been wildly lying to the public about how many delegates it really has. If that’s the case, then there’s no way you should let its paws anywhere near an election, because that behavior would reveal an inclination toward manufacturing the numbers.
Based on its past behavior, you can expect Americans Elect to release an announcement later today declaring that it will change its own rules after it didn’t get the result it wanted, and that certain candidates will be allowed to participate but not others. You can expect Americans Elect to make reference somehow to the will of the people, as if it’s just following some grassroots surge of support.
If there’s one thing we’ve all learned since Americans Elect got started under the name Unity08 way back in 2006, it’s that the leaders of Americans Elect are going to do what they want to do no matter what We The Little People say. But when Americans Elect pushes onward later today and refers to some mandate from “the people”, you’ll know that one way or another it’s not telling the truth.
Update, 5:22 PM: Clearly, I was wrong in my prediction at the end of this article. Americans Elect has ended its process…
“The primary process for the Americans Elect nomination has come to an end.”
… but don’t be surprised to see them at it again next election cycle:
“We are continuing the Americans Elect mission of creating more choice in our political system, giving candidates unaffiliated with the nominating process of either major party an authentic way to run for office and giving the American people a greater voice in our political process.”